Belly Fat, not BMI, Boosts Cancer Risk in Older Women


When it comes to cancer risk in postmenopausal women, body fat distribution is more important than body weight, according to research recently presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress in Madrid, Spain. Abdominal weight gain, which is common in older women, is of particular concern.

These findings come from the Danish Prospective Epidemiologic Risk Factor study – an observational study designed to provide a better understanding of age-related diseases in postmenopausal women. The researchers did baseline dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans on 5,855 women with an average age of 71 to assess their body fat composition. The women were followed for 12 years.

Using information from national cancer registries, researchers found 811 recorded solid cancers among study participants. The ratio of abdominal fat to peripheral fat in the women was a significant predictor of cancer diagnosis, while neither body mass index (BMI) nor overall fat percentage showed any statistical significance.

Sourced from: European Society for Medical Oncology